Duke of York's Royal Military School

Care provision Retains “Good” Ofsted Rating Once Again

Published by Prior's Court School on Monday 14th of August 2023

Staffing teams have come in for praise in the 13th successive Ofsted Care inspection in a row for Prior’s Court with a “good” or “outstanding” outcome.

Inspectors paid a three-day visit to Prior’s Court School in June to observe and document the standards of our residential homes* for young people up to the age of 19.

Following this, a report has been published rating the quality of social care provision as ‘good’, retaining the rating last earned following an inspection in 2022.

Highlights from the report included:

"The children are understood and well cared for by staff, and relationships between staff and the children are positive."
"Staff enthusiastically celebrate the children’s individualities and value their achievements."
"Systems in place to monitor safeguarding practices are excellent."
"Managers are striving for the best quality of care possible for the children. Managers at all levels know the children well and have a firm grasp of the progress they are making. Managers are extremely proud of the progress children make."

One area to come in for particular praise was the approach to medical support for young people at Prior’s Court, all of whom have autism, moderate to severe learning difficulties and associated complex needs.

Parts of the report read:

"Staff take children to an on-site medical facility which includes a dentist’s chair, a doctor’s waiting room and medical room. This is highly effective, and children make considerable progress with their health needs. Some children can now access an external dentist and have received medical treatment."

"The nursing team has worked with the NHS to carry out desensitisation research in audiology practices. Nurses carry out initial audiology assessments and quickly refer children when concerns are identified. Without this, some children would not have had access to the services they need to support their health needs."

This was the first Ofsted Care inspection at Prior’s Court since the appointment of Matt Phelps and Lisa Pothecary as joint-registered managers – a rare, possibly unique, arrangement to have in place but one recognised by Ofsted in the report as successful.

The report read: “This arrangement works due to their continuous communication and shared oversight of the homes. Both managers share the same vision for the home and have incredibly high aspirations.”

Sarah Butcher MBE, our Director of Young People’s Wellbeing, said:

"We are delighted to retain our “good” Ofsted rating and to reflect on some hugely positive comments in the report. It is hugely heartening to see the impact by the opening of our Health & Wellbeing Hub on-site noted in the report, and to see the positive comments around the appointments of Matt Phelps and Lisa Pothecary as joint-registered managers."

Lisa and Matt added:

"This superb Ofsted report is all down to our incredible staff members who, day in day out, contribute to changing the lives of our young people for the better."

Following on from the inspection, the areas for improvement found by Ofsted have been acknowledged by senior leaders at Prior’s Court with plans being developed to address these points.

Lisa and Matt added:

"We will continue to strive to improve our services for the benefit of our young people and are confident recent and ongoing changes made as part of our Creating our Future organisational change project will support this."

Prior's Court's Ofsted Education rating remains "outstanding". Our four Young Adult Provision homes, registered with the CQC, are all rated as “good”.

*Our 12 separate residential homes for children are registered as one Children’s Home with Ofsted.

Care provision Retains “Good” Ofsted Rating Once Again - Photo 1
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